Second Life Profile: adding social networking to a virtual world

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In June of 2008 I was recruited by Linden Lab to add social networking features to Second Life. When Second Life was created, the focus was on the in world experience and not on "feeds", "tweets", or personal messaging outside of the world. The hope was that the Second Life Profile could evolve from being a fairly static panel coded in C, to being a dynamic web 2.0 feed.

Below: The profile in 2008
Land Store Before Redesign

As I weighed the user needs against the technical challenges, it was clear that adding a layer of activity feeds, sharing recommendations among friends, and improving asynchronous communication was not going to be a quick and easy venture. One of my proposals to work around the technical constraints of in world activity feeds was to acquire a web based Marketplace - activity triggers are much easier to utilize in a web system.

Eventually my attention was drawn to the Second Life Marketplace and less on improving the Second Life Profile, however, below are my contributions to the ongoing evolution of the Second Life Profile, including:

♦ A web Based profile available in world and from within Second Life
♦ A profile for real world Businesses in Second life
♦ A merger of virtual marketplaces and social activity

A Web Profile

Part of my initial proposal was to create a robust web profile that could be also leveraged in world. This profile would also include activity feeds, member marketplaces, image galleries and links to real world profiles like Linked In. These mock ups are in the visual style of Second Life in 2008.

Below: Mock up of the Second Life Profile with and activity feed
Land Store Before Redesign
Below: Mock up of the Second Life Profile with a virtual goods store for each member
Land Store Before Redesign

Below: Mock up of the Second Life Profile wth a tie into Linked In
Land Store Before Redesign
Below: Mock up of the Second Life Profile with a robust friends display
Land Store Before Redesign

Entity Profiles

Many "Real World" institutions are represented in Second life. Universities and businesses from all over the world use Second Life for training, conferences, performances and more. However, there is currently no profile for an organization in Second Life. I worked on requirements and mock ups for an "entity profile".

Below: Mock ups of Entity Profiles
Land Store Before Redesign

Avatars United

In February of 2010, Linden Lab purchased Avatars United, an online community for avatars, as part of an effort to improve the "social glue" of Second Life. Avatars United was a web community for avatars of online games and virtual worlds. It was launched in March 2008 by Sweden-based Enemy Unknown

On September 23, 2010 Linden Lab announced the closure of Avatars United and worked to merge the features of the web based experience with the Second Life world.

I partnered with the Enemy Unknown team as an "internal consultant" while my primary focus was on the Second Life Marketplace. Below are mock ups and wire frames that I created that helped to guide the of merging Avatars United and Second Life.

Example Document: PDF of the Avatars United Profile wire frames

Below: Mock up of the AU Profile with the current header
The Profile was designed to mirror the current Second life "Dashboard"
Land Store Before Redesign Below: Mock up of the Second life "Dashboard" with the AU Activity feed
Land Store Before Redesign
Below: Wireframe of an interim Avatars United treatment
Land Store Before Redesign